The 10 Things to do Pre-Fly-Fishing Season!

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10 things you need to do BEFORE you hit the river!

It is the end of winter, I would expect that you’re getting anxious for the up coming fly Fishing season. I have done this routine for over 25 years and it is a great way to get primed and ready.

Here is a checklist of things to do ahead of time that will make your spring, summer, fall adventure successful.

  1. Do a dry run with your waders and boots. It is a great time to see if you need to repair leaks in your waders from last year, the ones you forgot about that soaked your socks. Also, check your boots of delaminating, wear and condition. Make sure they’re good enough or still fit you well. Soak your boots and change your laces.
  2. Go through all your flies. At the end of the seasons we just put our flies in our boxes, close them up, that’s it. What people forget about is that the hook itself can rust. Check to see if they still are in good shape and also take the time, with the help of an adult beverage, organize your boxes. I have a separate box for nymphs and dries as well as each family; Mayflies, Caddis, midge and so on. You never need to carry ALL of your patterns with you at all times. Do your homework, or ask your favorite shop what’s hatching and stock that. (but also keep a few secret bugs with you just incase.)
  3. Set new goals. Where do you WANT to fish? Learn a new technique? Take a float or do the high country? Maybe a stretch of new water would be interesting? Should you try the salt?
  4. Make sure to throughly clean, lube and/or rebuild or replace your fly reels. Look at the line, flip it if a double taper. Clean and “lube” your line. Check the drag, lube the spindle. Make sure it’s not dented or out of round. Again, alleviate a problems before it’s a problem
  5. Be sure to inspect your rod for nicks and the ferrels are square, not bent out of wack. How’s the cork? Do you even like that rod anymore?
  6. If you need to buy or replace anything, now is a great time. Fly Shops have great deals on last years inventory, big companies like Orvis, Sage, Simms might have deals on their websites. It’s a good time to find a deal. (don’t get caught up in “newer is better” trap… Truth is, there can be upgrades or new tech out there but you have to be so incredibly sophisticated to realize the difference, so last years stuff is awesome. Remember, it was the ‘New Tech” not that long ago.
  7. Make sure your fishing license is up to date and what you need to get it. In Colorado the rules have change up and you HAVE to have a drivers license or passport on you to get it at the shop. Be prepared. You can also get it ahead of time through a state run website, which I fully recommend.
  8. Obviously, do your inventory of disposables and consumables. Leaders, tippet, floatant, strike indicators, so on. If any of this stuff is old, like over a year, think about replacing it. Nothing is worse that losing that state record fish due to line failure.
  9. Practice, practice and practice. It’s time to rig up that rod and start casting in the yard or park. Make it fun, set up hoops and cans to cast into or towards and master the feel of the rod (again) and judging your distances. It will pay off you when you see that sipping fish under that branch 30 feet up.
  10. Get out there, enjoy yourself and remember why you’re there. Please don’t make it about your Instagram, hunting for that big fish or filtered pic to share for “likes”. You’re out there to be part of the experience, not to think you’re the next fly fishing god or goddess, planning on becoming a fly fishing “influencer” to get free stuff from the big companies or magazine mentions, it’s a touch sad really…Last thing you want to do is disrespect the fly fishing pioneers before you and cheapen what they wholeheartedly loved to the core of their soul for a free hat.

 

I plan on doing a post on the Instagramination(TM) of fly fishing in another future post.

As we say;

Tight Lines

Guide Glenn Smith

A Nibble of My “For Kids of All Ages” Fly Fish’n Book!

This is a big thing for me to announce today but I feel it’s about time that I do! I have been working on a children’s fly fishing book called  Fly Fish’n Fly Fish’n! I have been working on it for quite a while.

I personally dislike most of the books about teaching fly fishing to kids for one main reason: they’re really not fun to read, they’re dry and geared for a very small window of ages. I wanted to write a book that would be fun for kids as well as adults. I believed I nailed it.

It was important to me to create something that was a bit more broad, smart and beautiful to look at. That means no cheesy illustrations, just great photos, line drawings, a fun to read layout with real examples of real places, real gear and a contemporary feel.

It is written in a verse style and fragmented by design.

So let me know your thoughts, I’m excited about it! Here is a sample page…

Guide Glenn Smith

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What a crazy summer!

Now that September has come and fall is very much in the air, it is time to catch a breath and reflect on what a crazy summer it has been.

First and foremost, the fishing has been great all summer long. Don’t believe what social media tells you… If you keep up with what’s happening in our little hamlet, the Roaring Fork Valley and the quaint town of Basalt, you may be aware of all the excitment that has happened here; we had the Lake Christine Fire that happened on the 4th of July and thereafter burned for over a month. I provided a link to the stats as well click here and it will direct you to the photosIMG_1308

 

We also had a terrible winter last year which in turn made our water levels in the Roaring Fork critically low which forced the DOW to regulate the times in which we could fish due to the water temperature. At 66 degrees and above, the stress on the trout can kill them (and we don’t want that) so all the valleys guides did their best to “keep’m wet”, honor the request of the experts and take great care. Bravo to all who did their part.

But we persevered!

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From my POV, I had a great summer and a very interesting one to say the least. Due to the challenges the fish was great but different. What I found day in and day out was that it felt that all the hatches were somewhat off. It seemed to be a month ahead of schedule as well as thin. We didn’t get that chocking caddis hatch, nor the full on “steak and potato” Green Drake hatch in August like normal. But you know what? It still all worked out. The PMD’s were strong, the BWO’s were off the hook, Hoppers are falling in the river  like candy and a prince nymph is always money…

Another super cool thing that happened is that I was featured in The Aspen Sojourner Magazine with a sweet photo spread about fly fishing. I will post more about the article but want to share some of the photos they used. Online

 

Now the part some of you have been waiting for, the 2018 season of badass photos of fish and awesome clients, so here we go!

 

And last but not least, as not only a Fly Fishing Guide at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt I am also a producing artist, which makes this next photo even more amazing. I had the opportunity to fish with some of the top Artist, Curators and critics! Here is me with Heidi Zuckerman, Director of the Aspen Art Museum,  Hans Ulrich Obrist and wonderful fly fisherman and world renowned conceptual artist Joseph Grigely

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Now that it has become a bit more quiet, I am planning on making Guide Tip videos about shortcuts, affective techniques, fly selections, drift tips and much more.

 

So that all I got to say about that!

 

Tight-lines

Glenn

 

 

Guide Tips via Twitter

Throughout this summer I have been posting fly fishing tips and tricks in short form on Twitter. What I have learned in the exercise is that why use 7 words when 4 will do.

It is easy to get caught up in listening to yourself talk when you are perceived as an expert at anything. Twitter does not allow the luxury…and I kind of liked that.

So here is a series of Glenn and The Art Of Fly Fishing guide tips that I have recently posted. If you enjoy them and find them useful, please share them with the troutbum in your life and follow me @artofflyfishing on Twitter.

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The 9 Essentials That Every Fly Fisherman Should Know

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It’s early in the morning and you are getting ready for a day out on the river.  Do you have EVERYTHING you need for a successful day of fly fishing?

As a guide, it is important that I have everything that YOU might possibly need as well as everything I need. It is tantamount, as an experienced guide, not to get caught looking for something you need or worse, not having it and appearing completely unprepared.

Here is a bit of insight about my daily routine and my daily checklist for a great day of chasing trout without worry, stress and looking like a pro. This short list of nine are important to me but please, feel free to email, comment or add to this list. I would love to share your best tips in a future blog.

1. Polarized sunglasses:  It is in my honest opinion that polarized sunglasses are THE most important item that any serious fisherman should own. I love SMITH Optics, I won’t guide without them, because:

a) They give you an incredible advantage of seeing the fish if you know how to look for them,

b) They provide a much safer way to wade and to see the river bottom and any other obstacles and,

c) They enable you to see the fly on the water when a delicate little ‘sipper’ takes that #20 midge.

2. Great wading boot, or at least OK waders:  Buy the best you can afford but think about how much wear or “time in the saddle” you’re going to give them. I have always been a dedicated SIMMS guy. I think they understand what professional Fly Fishing guides need and that can only benefit the recreational fisherman with great R&D and history.

One thing to assess, if throwing stacks of 100’s at something, you’re  “just going to get wet”. I will stress buying really good boots and medium priced waders. Cheap boots fall apart and can be dangerous. Always think safety.

3. A decent rod:  You might notice that I didn’t mention a rod and reel – that’s coming up.  What you do want is a rod that feels right to you. When you’re shopping  for rods, do not start with price. First thing you should do is go to a shop that sells real Fly Fishing gear, not fishing gear and baby cloths and iPods. The only other thing that is acceptable in the store, other than flies, is other fly fishing related goods, and maybe a mug.

I have Sage and ‘Winston rods. These are the rods that I feel best casting, but there are many out there I haven’t casted that I am sure I would fall in love with, I will have to wait until the next fly fishing show or a generous Rep to show up at the shop!

Anywho, ask to cast a bunch of rods in the weight that is appropriate for the fish you’re chasing; #0-#5 are great weights to start with. Be sure to cast these rods with reels and line.  Don’t just stand in the shop and shake it around, it looks cool but doesn’t tell you anything. Choose the one that you connect with, I can almost promise that it will not be the one your friend suggested you get. Now you can look at the price. If it is too much, the shop guy will lean you into a good second choice. If you choose one that feels right and you can also afford, BUY IT. I, still to this day, fish with a old Sage RPL 2 piece that I love.

4. A good to great reel:  This is sometimes a sticky wicket. I own great reels, I own not so great reels. I own them both by choice. Personally I find it hard to spend $600 on a 2 weight reel, but no problem with that much on a 9 weight reel. One is to “put the fish on” and the other is simply to hold line. My thought is this, get a reel that has a warranty, looks great and balances well with your rod. I will leave it up to you to choose between practicality, a piece of jewelry, or both.

5. A REAL fly box:   Be sure to have a box that is easy to open and more importantly, stays closed. Do not keep the bugs you just purchase in one of those plastic specimen cups with a snap on lid….so rookie. This is the best way to lose the $30 or more worth of flies and look stupid doing it.  Also, the box should fit in whatever pocket you keep it in… securely.

Again, nothing is worse than bending over to net a fish you have been working for an hour and watch your fly box float down stream.

6. A great set of snippers:  Nail clippers don’t cut it. Buy a good set designed to cut “mono”, then buy another.

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7. Everything else:  Be sure to always have enough tippet. It is best to double up with floatant, weights, leaders, and hemostats. This will ensure that you will not to be caught with your pants down when the fish are rising and you’re not digging through your pockets looking for that 6X tippet and all you can find 3X. Get my drift?

8. Light weight rain jacket:  A must have that should never leave your car, unless you are wearing it on the river, in a rain storm.

9. Gas:  Always fill your transportation with gas. You don’t want to be worrying about running out of fuel when you should be running up the river to get the evening hatch.

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This is the basic list that I pretty much follow everyday that I get in the car and head out. I hope it is helpful and at least gives you a base of good preparation.

Next week will be my list of things you absolutely don’t need but think you do need.

Hey Hot Shot-That Ego Is Amazing!

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Just the other day I received this comment on my blog l posted last week about staying humble and in check:

S.B. penned:

“Ah well said…but I was hoping you might touch upon the truly self absorbed, hot shots….the ones that often work in a shop…the trout bum. All the obnoxious traits above are trumped by the bum”

I will do just that Mr B. Some of them shop rats are dicks, but most all of them are not. I will have to agree that the ones that act “Holier than thou” do leave a really bad taste in a persons mouth.

First off, I need to make a few quick points:

A) In any sporting industry be it skiing, snowboarding, skate-shops, and the mother of them all- surf shops, there is always the “chip on the shoulder” guy that believes there is no one better than him in his world. (You never see this in a hockey store; it’s the only sport where ego gets a punch in the face).

The fact is, there will always be those guys that feel it necessary to misrepresent their love and skill of their chosen sport with a pedestal built of arrogance, What sport doesn’t?

B) Some shops actually condone this behavior. It either stems from the owner that by nature is grumpy to the bone and it trickles down to his small and unpleasant staff or it’s just a bad shop. By the way, I love those shops, it can be so much fun just to ask stupid questions to get a rise and wait for what might spill out of their mouths. It can be priceless.  But if you chose to do that, remember, many life long fly fishermen are hunters, more than likely they are locked and loaded. 

Here is the truth. It is a shame that you had to experience this type of shop guy, it is in everyones best interest not to be that ” asshole” behind the counter. It is bad for the customers, it is bad for the guides and it is just plain bad for business. I have new clients that come from other shops to fish with us because they could not stand the fact that they were paying a lot of money for a trip and the owner was just disrespectful, and a good guide lost his client because of that owner. Totally uncool.

In my experience from both sides of this, as customer and guide, you can do a few different things:

1) Don’t buy anything, leave and go to another shop in town that is more than happy to see you. Simple as that.

2) Call him out. “Dude really? You’re awfully cocky for a 10 year old…” I have found that a bit of quick wit and carefully placed sarcasm can be a very powerful tool when have to defuse an unnecessary ego fueled situation. Word of caution, don’t pin ego with ego. Your goal is just to punctuate his attitude, to make him realize how stupid he sounds.

3) If you’re going into the shop for a fishing trip, I suggest talking to everyone in there and stick with the one that engages you in return. We ALL walk into a room and form our opinions of everyone in there way before anyone is introduced. I do it, you do it, everyone does it, it is human nature.

My only comment I would have to make is that a “trout bum” is a person that is so enamored with the sport that they are willing to live “that” lifestyle; they are OK with being broke, always chasing trout and working in a fly shop. The guys that bug you are just punks with rods or a shop owners without a business plan.

I hope this answers your question.

 

 

 

 

So You’re A Hot Shot. Top 5 Tips To Fly Fishing Humility

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True humility is intelligent self respect which keeps us from thinking too highly or too meanly of ourselves. It makes us modest by reminding us how far we have come short of what we can be.
Ralph W. Sockman

Malcolm Gladwell makes his living pointing out the powers of innate observation with statements akin to “something doesn’t feel right”  or that it takes a person 10,000 hours of doing something to truly be qualified as an expert. All this is good. But in my experience, sometimes a little knowledge can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Why I say this is really very simple. Becoming arrogant about a talent seems to trump, being quietly humble.

Think of Dennis Rodman or Mathew McConaughey . Mr. McConaughey’s inspiration during his heartfelt acceptance speech is to meet his hero and his hero’s expectations. The problem is, his hero is himself   ten years from now. Whats up with that? (Here is the link to his now famous Oscar speech.)

Dear Mr. Rodman is a different case study and far from being low key. What he is, is just a train wreck of delusional bad judgement.  One sure-fire way of understanding a persons character is simply accessing the company he keeps. How’s the weather in North Korea Dennis?

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Now let’s look the other direction towards Dirk Nowitsky and Lupita Nyong’o. If you don’t know who these two are, Google it and you will realize that they both have changed the landscape in their fields of expertise without making a ton of noise. If you are a Dallas Maverick fan, Mark Cuban excluded, you know the character that Dirk brings to the game. I think all pro sports should learn from Dirk’s example. Lupita is just a class act through and through.

So what does this have to do with fly fishing, which I love so much? This style of fishing is wrought with humility. It is the key factor on which it was built. Know matter how “Extreme” the TV wants to make it with fast editing, cocky guides and house music, it is still about the solitude of the river and the environment; nothing more.

So I wanted to share with you five simple tips on becoming an expert angler with all the goods, as opposed to becoming an A-hole fly fishermen with just a bit too much information to be dangerous.

These are some of the things you see in the shop or on the river. The lack of general awareness that certain type of people bring to our beautiful sport and it’s hollowed waters.  I made very broad brush strokes, but here we go:

Do not become:

1) The “Amortizer

This is the guy that books a trip and then divides the cost of the trip with the amount of fish he caught. For example, “that’s one fish, $420. That’s two fish, $210 each”  and so on. This kills me and I have seen it more than once. I’m talking to you, CFO’s.

What an experienced Angler does here is recognizes what they want from their day. New spots, new techniques, a great lunch, and catching a really difficult fish. Maybe the tables could turn and the client gets charged  per every fish caught. Imagine that. It could be a very expensive day on a mid August Green Drake hatch.

2) The “Gierachian”

These are the people who have read everything John Gierach has written and believe they have a good handle on what fly fishing is all about. I love his stories. He is an amazing writer, but he says nothing about how you need to hold the rod up when you’re drifting a dry in fast water, or which float ant works wonders on a comparadun.

What humble veterans do is read Trout Bum on the plane and then ponder the structure of his own story following his weekend trip to “Pan”.

3) The “Complainer”

This one can be touchy but needs to be said – the guide is doing their best to put you on fish and hopefully big ones to boot.

What the guide can’t do is completely control which fish is going to eat your fly. So if you end up saying “That one wasn’t big enough”, then that’s blatantly not the right thing to say.  It screams “Squid”!

What a confident sportsmen does is reflects back to the days when they weren’t catching anything, taking a good look around and thinking, “What a beautiful day”. Then he thanks the fish for taking their fly.

4) The “Exaggerator” 

Never walk into the shop and blurt out a number. It is irreverent, boastful, and worst of all. And you don’t know if it’s the biggest number or the smallest number. Are you willing to gamble that? Let’s say you got twenty to the net – your best day ever and you could not be happier. Then you go back to the shop and somebody walks in and says they caught 50 (chances are they’re lying ..remember John Gierach’s book All Fishermen are Liars?). You might start to question the best day you have ever had, Why do that?

What my mentor and best guide I ever had the pleasure of working with, John High, would say as he walked back into the shop was simple, “Yep, we caught one”, period. And we all knew it was a gigantic number.

5) The “Exhibitionist” 

DO NOT under any circumstance take your shirt off on the river. This is just bad form. Chances are you are not tan, and if you are it is more than likely the most epic Farmer’s tan. You are not buff, most fly fishermen aren’t, and you’re using cut bait. Get my drift.

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It is in the best interest for all of us to remain noble, understated and humble. We have chosen one of the most difficult and expensive way to catch fish, so we should present ourselves in similar fashion. Accept our rewards in silence, gloat to ourselves and celebrate our successes over an ice cold beer with good friends who are willing to listen to your lies.